10. Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Director: James Gunn
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista
Best moment: The opening dance sequence sets the mood just right.
Sample review (via The Arts Desk): “Gunn clearly knows his way round the genre and delivers a crowd pleasing summer blockbuster full of humour. Plus a raccoon brandishing a machine gun is all kinds of fun.”
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Stars: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan
Best moment: Cap taking out several agents inside the tight confines of an elevator. It’s simple yet electrifying.
Sample review (via Cinema Sight): “The best Marvel film to date explores government overreach, the real and perceived threats to national security and how true American values will always win out over false ones.”
8. Deadpool (2016)
Director: Tim Miller
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Brianna Hildebrand
Best moment: The final battle – everything from Deapool spelling his foe’s name in body parts to him making something as horrific as getting stabbed in the head look hilarious.
Sample review (via Japan Times): “Deadpool is fleet, flippant and genuinely funny, peppered with pop-culture references, Marvel in-jokes and fourth-wall-breaking quips to the audience.”
7. The Incredibles (2004)
Director: Brad Bird
Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee, Wallace Shawn
Best moment: The titular heroes vs. bad guy Syndrome’s robot.
Sample review (via IGN): “A sharp, even amusing, homage to comic book lore, a great family-friendly action-comedy, and a thoughtful marital drama all wrapped up in a deliciously exciting package.”
6. Iron Man (2008)
Director: Jon Favreau
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges
Best moment: Tony Stark cutting the charade and admitting to the world that he is, in fact, Iron Man.
Sample review (via Times-Picayune): “His well-honed acting chops aside, a big reason the casting of Downey as Stark works so darn well is that incorrigible streak, which he somehow always has been able to balance with an irrepressible likability and which he uses to full effect here.”
5. The Avengers (2012)
Director: Joss Whedon
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Samuel L. Jackson
Best moment: When the Avengers assemble! Duh!
Sample review (via National Post): “Whedon must balance the competing storylines and screen time of the actors. He does it nicely, injecting humour and a touch of drama into the action — and all without so much as a Tesseract to his name. Some assembly required, and delivered.”
4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Director: Joss Whedon
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland
Best moment: The epic airport fight sequence – from Spider-Man making quips to Ant-Man showing why you shouldn’t mess with the little guy.
Sample review (via Pitch): “Marvel’s response to superhero fatigue, then, is clear: Double-down on character and up the storytelling’s short game as well as its long game. It’s an old-fashioned strategy, and it absolutely works.”
3. X2 (2003)
Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Brian Cox, Kelly Hu
Best moment: Nightcrawler’s White House infiltration is still the greatest opening scene in any superhero movie ever!
Sample review (via The Movie Report): It takes a true cinema talent to turn the daunting and rather unwieldy 40 years of material into a coherent yet complex, smart yet incredibly fun entertainment that satisfies both the fanboys and newbie moviegoers alike.
2. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco
Best moment: The exhilarating train fight scene between Spidey and Doc Ock
Sample review (via London Evening Standard): “This is a better picture than the first because it makes its characters human, doesn’t camp it up and refuses to believe that Kerpow! Kerching! is more than a constituent part of the proceedings.”
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman
Best moment: The interrogation scene, where Batman and the Joker finally meet face to face.
Sample review (via Roger Ebert): “Batman isn’t a comic book anymore. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy. It creates characters we come to care about. That’s because of the performances, because of the direction, because of the writing, and because of the superlative technical quality of the entire production. This film redefines the possibilities of the comic-book movie.”
What’s your most cherished superhero movie from the era of The Dark Knight and Iron Man? Let us know in the comment section below.